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Foods That Help Prevent Skin Ageing

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 16 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Anti Ageing Anti Ageing Treatment

While we are bombarded with many creams and procedures promising effective anti ageing treatments for skin, it is important to remember that nutrition can also play an important role in fighting ageing - in other words, you can also fight skin ageing by nourishing your skin from the inside through the foods that you eat.

These foods contain antioxidants which directly combat the causes of skin ageing, as well as supplying the natural nutrients which gradually decrease with age and which are vital for maintaining a youthful appearance.

What Causes Skin Ageing?

One of the key signs of ageing skin is wrinkles and sagging and there are a variety of factors that cause these. They include free radicals which come from smoking, air pollution and UV radiation (sunlight) and which destroy collagen, a protein in skin responsible for its elasticity and youthful appearance.

Gravity and repeated muscle use in every day expressions, such as frowning and smiling, also contribute to wrinkles and sagging. Finally, unavoidable hormone changes that come with ageing (e.g.. at menopause) also causes changes to the skin’s elasticity.

Foods That Fight Skin Ageing

In general, foods that contain high levels of antioxidants will help to counteract the decreasing elasticity, collagen levels and firmness of ageing skin and these foods are best derived from fresh, natural sources. It is also a good idea to eat as wide a variety of antioxidant-rich foods as possible, rather than just focusing on the few groups renowned for high levels, as different types of antioxidants protect against different types of damage. Some good sources of antioxidants include:
  • Vitamin C - blackcurrants, red peppers, strawberries, curly kale, brussel sprouts, papaya, kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, lemon, potatoes, broccoli
  • Vitamin A -liver, carrots, sweet potato, red peppers, spinach, butternut squash, watercress
  • Vitamin E - wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, palm oil, hazelnuts, almonds, rapeseed oil, soya oil
  • essential fatty acids (e.g.. Omega-3, 6) - anchovies, canola oil, cod liver oil, egg yolk, flaxseed oil, hazelnuts, mackerel, oysters, prawns, salmon, sardines
  • Selenium - Brazil nuts, kidneys, mixed nuts and raisins, lobster, tuna, lemon sole, squid, mullet, scallops, sardines

In fact, despite how boring it may seem, an ideal diet for fighting skin ageing is also the general ideal balanced diet for optimal health. In other words, a diet rich in wholemeal grains and fresh fruit and vegetables, together with sufficient quantities of dairy products, protein in the form of lean meat, fish, poultry, fish and eggs as well as legumes and nuts.

Don’t Forget The Water!

Effective and sufficient hydration is very important for maintaining the plumped out, fresh look of young skin and making wrinkles less obvious. Dry, dehydrated skin looks old and dull.

The majority of people actually walk around mildly dehydrated without even noticing it. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time in dry, air-conditioned or centrally-heated indoor areas or if you do a lot of physically strenuous work. Therefore it is vital that you make an active effort to rehydrate yourself every hour.

Most people should aim to drink about 6-8 glasses of water per day, although the amounts can be less or more depending on the size of the individual and their normal activity levels, as well as the ambient temperature and humidity of their environment. Remember also that alcohol and caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee are strong diuretics and will flush more water out of your system faster than any liquid that they replace.

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